29 September 2009

Book Commission

I am often asked to recommend reading books for boys in the 5 – 9 year category, that have nothing to do with football, to get them interested in reading. Even though my own children are all girls, I'm still asked about boy's books, as if, just because I write and have a young family, I'm some sort of authority on children's books.

If you ask at the book store, or library, about books for boys in the 5 – 9 age range, the answer is generally, "There's not a lot - a gap in the market, unfortunately." Whilst it is true there are far fewer books available for boys than for girls, especially character series, it is not a complete desert. I usually recommend the excellent, Dinosaur Cove or Secret Tree House series, or the not so excellent, but very popular, Beast Quest series. It may be just me, but I have a problem with the way story solutions, in beast quest, just appear from no where without warning, ex-machina-like. Still, they hit all the right buttons for young boy's: monsters, heroes, game cards etc, and if they encourage boys to read I'm all in favour.

Friends approached me recently and asked if I could produce a book for their 6 year old son's birthday, who is deep into his Wii and Super Mario computer games. Having researched the market, I have decided to take up the challenge and produce something technology based using the popular Rainbow Fairy's (girly book) format.

This means I now have three projects on the go, but more about them in other blogs.

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15 September 2009

Helium3 hits best seller list!

Helium3 is officially a best seller. It currently resides in 74th place on the Smashwords 100 best seller list.

I've blogged about Smashwords before - here's a reminder. Smashwords offer ebooks in all formats (HTML, JavaScript, Kindle, PDF, RTF, Palm Doc, Plain Text), in fact almost all formats used by Ereaders. The great joy of using Smashwords is that you only need to upload the manuscript once and they convert it to all the usable versions. They also automatically convert the manuscript into any new formats they introduce.

Smashwords is also a marketing company, which for me, as an author, is the other main attraction. In other words, they know how to promote, and it doesn't cost me a dime in additional fees for their services. They do take commission, of course, but let's face it, a percentage of something is a lot better than all of nothing.

The current success of Heliym3 is down to a Smashwords marketing campaign in the southern hemisphere, although sales appear to be holding up since the campaign finished in August so it must be gaining a fan base.